Personal Development: Key to Professional Success
What is personal development?
“The conscious pursuit of personal growth by expanding self awareness, knowledge and improving skills”
I was prompted to compile this information because I’ve become disappointed in people’s personal development habits. Today, fewer people intentionally pursue honing their craft, getting smarter, and bolstering their emotional intelligence. It’s amazing how test scores have dropped in our schools, and our country is losing ground in the global marketplace.
“If you build the person, the person builds the business.” – anonymous
For businesses to become stronger, they need strong, smart people running them. This is especially true for entrepreneurs, since they are often the heart and soul of their business. Every professional, whether in business for themselves, in a traditional career, or in direct sales, should create and follow a plan for personal development.
Five questions to ponder
1. Do you have a structured regimen for personal development? Do you follow it consistently?
2. Is it part of your daily discipline? For example, at 3:30 am, I am riding my stationary bike while listening to edifying materials. The first thing I focus on is my spiritual development, so I listen to a spirit – focused speaker. Then I move on and tune in to a professional in my field.
3. Do you see the need for a structured personal development program? Are you satisfied with where you are in your career and business?
4. Are you confident in the areas that you have to execute in your business?
5. Do you have areas in your business that you believe you should improve?
If you don’t like the answers to these questions, it’s time for a self-assessment. Do a personal evaluation in different categories, from personal to business. For each category, answer these questions:
1. Where do I need to improve?
For instance, I know that I need to get better at implementing technology. For you, maybe it’s writing proposals, or executing core stories.
2. Am I willing to get out of my comfort zone?
When Dawn decided to get into social media, it was not a comfortable thing for her. Her “sweet spot” is being on stage inspiring and training people, but she knew that we needed to build this aspect of our business. For a full year, she paid for coaching and was mentored by experts. Then she took six more months to put her new skill sets into action. Now she’s ranked in the top ten women to follow on LinkedIn, trains individuals and companies on how to leverage LinkedIn for lead generation, and generates scads of leads for us.
3. Am I willing to invest time and money in making myself better?
Knowledge is not free, and neither is time. Like Dawn did, you may need to pay for training or for a coach. As for time, look at your schedule. How much time do you spend driving? Turn your car into a classroom! Use driving time to listen to content that will educate you. When you’re waiting for a client, and especially if you have a no show, use that time. Don’t waste time playing around on your phone.
As you’re answering these three questions, be brutally honest. This can be difficult, as we tend to go easy on ourselves.
“If you’re hard on yourself, it makes life infinitely easier.” -Zig Ziglar
Once you know where you stand, and what improvements you want to make, take action! Use the following steps to help propel you forward.
Five things you can do right now to start moving toward personal development:
1. Podcasts and audiobooks. Choose to follow experts who have been successful in the areas in which you desire improvement.
2. YouTube and other videos. I’m convinced you can learn anything and everything on YouTube. Take full advantage of this powerful platform and learn from professionals in your field.
3. Books. My best piece of advice for selecting a book is to choose books by great thinkers rather than entertaining authors. When you ask successful people what they read, notice that they never say “I’m not reading.” They also never say “Harlequin romances.” I need to access information, so I read all the time. Right now, I’m reading Tools of the Titans, by Timothy Ferriss.
4. Events. Do not evaluate a professional event based on price: look at content. There are a lot of free seminars you can go to, but they still might cost you something: your mind! Vet the speakers before you go.
5. Association. Choose your associates carefully. Turkeys and chickens run in flocks, pecking at the dirt. You want to associate with eagles. Seek out people who soar, who are living on a new level. Find people who have a accomplished what you want to accomplish. Listen to what successful people are saying. Filter what goes into your head, and only allow in the best content.
In summary, guard carefully those you allow into your brain.
Our introduction to personal development
Back in our early days, Dawn and I knew nothing about personal development. We understood how to improve professionally, and implemented those principles in our careers as an opera singer and a football coach. But personal development was an unknown concept to us, until we went to a convention where it was discussed. It taught us the value of things like reading, going to seminars, and listening to knowledgable, personally successful speakers. From that point onward, we began to make personal development a priority in our life. Twenty-seven years later, we have seen the fruit of those early decisions, and experienced great success. You can do it, too!
Homework for you
Take your business to new heights by getting on the personal development journey. Propel yourself to the next level. Email me for a FREE 15 minute consultation. I’ll recommend books, videos, and resources that can help you in the areas you are looking to improve.